Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hillary is a DFH, didn't you Know?

The Boston Globe today made explicit what many of us have long suspected--its editors are a bunch of complete idiots. Today they enlivened our political debate and our understanding of the important issues of the day by claiming that Hillary Clinton was, as Atrios would put it, a "dirty fucking hippy" who

... shouted along with the rest of us not to "trust anyone over 30." She never shouted, "Let's rally around the person with 35 years of experience."Clinton never conceived that by repeating that mantra over and over, she would be seen by many voters, especially those under 45, as the candidate of the past.

Of course, back in the real world, Hillary's life looked more like a middle of the road, hard working, centrist, suburban striver:

Hillary's childhood in Park Ridge, Illinois, was happy and disciplined. She loved sports and her church, and was a member of the National Honor Society, and a student leader. Her parents encouraged her to study hard and to pursue any career that interested her.
As an undergraduate at Wellesley College, Hillary mixed academic excellence with school government. Speaking at graduation, she said, "The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible." In 1969, Hillary entered Yale Law School, where she served on the Board of Editors of Yale Law Review and Social Action, interned with children's advocate Marian Wright Edelman, and met Bill Clinton.

If you think this essay is just one of a thousand interchangeable essays about how the torch is passed to a new generation, you're not wrong. Apparently forgetting that this kind of thing happens *every 12 years or so* and happened to Bush the senior when he was that guy's name again, well, at some pivotal election back in the '90's anyway....we discover that the author of the essay is himself reaching a magic number: the age at which he realizes that he is no spring chicken.

For boomers everywhere, Clinton's potential defeat may be the first time many of us understand that simply saying 60 is the new 50 doesn't make it so. It may also be the first time many of us acknowledge that while we are not nearly ready to retire yet, our prime may have unobtrusively slid past us also.

Oh, he'd like to keep fighting for change, but he's just too darned tired. And Hillary, she must be even tireder, because she's a chick. And he knows all about chicks because (wait for, wait, I said!)

In 1969, I saw the haunting film "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie." At the end of the movie, Miss Brodie, who throughout the film touted that she was still "in her prime," discovers that she has unknowingly slid past her prime.

[edited to remove personal remark] Is it the case, since the author includes his male self in the "Too old and tired to run" litany it that it can't be sexist to assert, on the basis of a film that makes fun of a thirty or forty year old woman having sexual desires, that Hillary Clinton should take a wheelchair and just sit this one out? I don't think so. Clearly the whole "in my prime" thing has as much relationship to actual thought as the attribution of the phrase "lady sings the blues" applied to Hillary had to Billie Holliday. But it sets the frame for thinking about her as a woman, and for assuming (and the reader assuming) that "in her prime" for a woman is a) phony (they never have primes), b) always over quickly, c) (if they know the book) a way of pathologizing and diminishing women's interest in politics, sex, and education. In addition, it resonates very, very, oddly with the fact that no male candidate unless he is absolutely doddering is considered past his prime. Aren't we constantly being assured that Mitt Romney can afford to take his time, he's only 60! .
Like all "liberal" Globe op eds and columnists the writer is, probably, a democrat and thinks he's an equal opportunity cultural critic so he takes a brief sideswipe at the even older John McCain. But the fact of the matter is he represents "boomers" as hippies and revolutionaries who are too stupid and selfish to know that their time is over. Is that it, really? The whole of the american electorate is and has been composed of revolutionaries and democrats for the last forty years? Who were those masked republicans, like Bush etc..., who were "boomers" but emphatically not on the hustings or in the streets? Were they never boomers? Were they hippies who reached the age of reason so early that they turned their back on all that rabble rousing years ago? Who is going to vote for McCain?

I'd say read the whole thing but you know, no one needs to have their blood boiled so early in the morning.